A truly poetic author, CBK1000 weaves together characters and emotions in her stories like a master. Her stories are unique in every aspect, from her plots to her characterizations to the delightful way she words her stories, if you aren’t in awe of her skills with the written word at the end of every story, then you need to read it again.
Read Jennifer’s interview to get to know a little more about her!
KM: How long have you been a part of the Klaroline fandom? What was it that made you start shipping these two and, eventually, inspired you to start writing about them?
Jennifer: While their first scene together pretty much clinched it for me, I didn’t really join the fandom until about mid-season 4, in that I didn’t really interact with other fans or get involved in the vast world of fanfiction until about 4×12 or so, which is the episode that actually sparked my first fic.
What drew me to them as a couple was the amazing chemistry between the actors, but also that sort of fascinating yin and yang dynamic, and how both characters are sort of reflections of the other. Klaus is everything bad about Caroline, a cautionary tale, a warning to always nurture that humanity to which she clings so tightly. Caroline is what Klaus perhaps was or could have been, had he not let his father’s hatred and his mother’s rejection twist him into this damaged man we see today. It is their approaches to life and to the disappointments they have endured where their differences kick in: Caroline picks herself up and dusts herself off, Klaus destroys himself, his family, and any miniscule chance of happiness and redemption he is offered.
Both their differences and their similarities, for me at least, play a role in why this couple works. I think they need each other. Caroline needs someone who puts her first, who will accept her darker side (which is certainly there, no matter how much she may like to pretend it isn’t), who is not going to reduce her to a second choice. We’ve seen Klaus, more than once, choose Caroline over his pride and his thirst for vengeance. He’s willing to lay aside a thousand years of murderous prejudice for this baby vampire. And Klaus- Klaus needs someone who can understand him, but will not excuse him. He needs someone to challenge him, confront him, rein him in. She’s seen him at his ugliest, and she’s endured it, and what’s more, she hasn’t given up on him. She doesn’t want to fix him- she wants HIM to better himself. This vast potential is what drew me to the couple, particularly post-4×13, and inspired me to really begin exploring what could and might and should be.
KM: You have a lot of historical references in your fics, a lot of them Irish. What’s your connection? Hobby, job, maybe something you learned in school that caught your attention?
Jennifer: I’ve always loved history, even as a kid. I was pretty much the only ten-year-old I knew whose reaction to the release of Titanic was to go out and buy a bunch of non-fiction books on the tragedy, because though I harbored the typical pre-teen crush on Dicaprio, what really interested me was the history behind the event itself and the story of the real people who went down with the ship.
I do actually have a personal interest in Irish history in particular, however. My grandpa (dad’s side) is Irish, my grandma English, and so my great-grandfathers actually fought against one another in the Anglo-Irish War, and it was this family history that sort of drew me to research this particular time period. My grandpa passed away a few years ago, and I regret not learning more about that part of my heritage. I never originally intended to incorporate it into my writing, but I was sucked into the conflict between the British and the Irish and as I was reading I thought the guerilla war fought by the IRA against the British would be the perfect sort of background for the strategic experience Klaus brings to the war in New Orleans.
KM: How long does it take you to compile all the research and write your fics around it?
Jennifer: It depends on how involved the flashback is. The Ireland one was quite long, and I read about a dozen books or so on the subject in just a couple of months to really go into the amount of detail that I did, and to feel comfortable adding a personal touch to the conflict while still maintaining historical accuracy. I have a job that allows me a lot of free time for reading, so what I would do is actually take care of a lot of my research at work, jot down some notes, bookmark pages covering events I wanted to include, and then write when I got home.
KM: In your fics, Caroline is becoming more strategically savvy, especially on the battle field. Do you think you might turn her into a dark!Caroline as the series progresses, or would you always keep that shred of goodness or humanity she possesses?
Well, I don’t really want to give anything away, but I will say that Caroline has to become more comfortable with who and what she is, not just to render a relationship between her and Klaus actually viable, but for herself as well. With that being said, I think it’s that light and that humanity that she clings to which has drawn Klaus to her, and it’s such an integral part of the character that while I’d love to see her go dark on TVD (or TO, if she crosses over), I wouldn’t want it to be a permanent change. I’d always want her to retain, to some degree, that ‘guys we can DO this; chin up’ attitude.
5. Are there parts that you enjoy writing the most? And to oppose that, what are the parts that you least like to write, or that take you the longest?
Jennifer: I love writing the flashbacks. I also love writing Caroline going all ‘check yourself, bitch’ on Klaus. I love their banter, and of course their totally hot (bloody) smut. Really, there isn’t anything I particularly dislike writing, because the way I look at it is that if I don’t like writing it, if I’m bored by a particular passage or scene, what’s the point? I write because I love to; why bog myself down in stuff I have to stumble through?
However, that being said, some scenes are certainly more difficult for me to write, in that there’s quite an emotional battering that takes place sometimes in the course of working through certain scenes. In the last fic I wrote, I actually had to just set it down and walk away for a little while because the particular section I was writing just struck too close to home and I needed a breather. It’s not the first time I’ve had to walk away from a piece for a bit.
KM: You receive a call from the CW, to be a part of the writing staff in The Vampire Diaries or The Originals. You can only write for one, which show do you pick and why? What do you fix/get rid of, and how would you go about keeping the Klaroline flame alive?
Jennifer: The Originals; absolutely no contest there. What’s frustrating about the show (which anyone who frequents my tumblr knows I intensely dislike) is the potential it has, lurking under all the gaping plot holes and the continuity issues and the magical baby crap. TVD is just ridiculous at this point, but The Originals is in its infancy, and actually pretty easily fixable, I think. I would get rid of this strange body snatcher/doppleganger/evil twin that has taken the place of Real Elijah, bring back Season 2 Elijah in all his dapper glory; get rid of both the baby and Hayley; have the witches draw Klaus into the war by exploiting one of his very few vulnerabilities (so either Caroline or his family); tweak Marcel’s background (I do not like the slave/white savior dynamic between him and Klaus); and probably bring in a few werewolf packs (possibly the one Tyler has hooked up with) to really kick off a bloody power struggle between all these different factions. I’d like to really focus on the dynamics of the Original family and the power struggles among them and show them eventually making peace with one another and really uniting against anyone who would dare try to bring them down. And Caroline of course I would bring over either in the beginning, in an attempt by the witches to use her as a pawn, or after the war had gotten quite bloody and either Marcel or the witches were in desperate need of some sort of leverage to use against Klaus. She wouldn’t remain a pawn for very long, of course, though, because as we all know, Caroline is a queen of the highest order.
KM: What do you want the audience to get out of your writing? Is there a message that you want them to get from your story or even a character(s)?
There is no one message I want my readers to get out of my writing. I don’t think it’s a writer’s place to dictate to their audience how they should feel about a piece or what they should take away from it, and, in addition to that, what I’m here for is to tell the story of the characters, through their eyes and their feelings and their experiences. How I feel about something doesn’t matter; if my views on life happen to mesh with a character’s, great, that makes it easier to write, but I don’t personally believe that a character should be a mouthpiece for your political beliefs or your philosophy on life, particularly when you’re working with characters not your own, who already have established personalities and outlooks on life. I think storytelling should be more organic than that, that the author needs to just sort of sit back and let their characters speak and keep their own mouth shut. All I hope for is that when readers click on one of my fics, they come away with more than just a sense of, “Hey, this chick’s spelling and grammar is pretty good so far as fanfiction standards go.” The technicality of the writing is not where the heart lies; there is plenty of technically proficient writing out there that’s utterly passionless. “Your descriptions are beautiful” is nice to hear. “You just ripped out my guts and strangled me with them” is amazing. I think regardless of your skill level, if you break off little pieces of yourself and you put them into your writing, you’re doing something right, and it’s that personal touch and vulnerability that goes into a fic that I want readers to pick up on, and identify with.
KM: Do you have any tips to overcome writers block, especially with the lack of Klaroline moments to draw motivation from?
Jennifer: Read. Read. Read. There is always going to be an author (or 3, or 5, or 1200) who just touches you on every level and puts your ass in that computer chair and sets your fingers to flying like your life depends upon it, but you’ve got to get out there and find them.
For me personally, the separation of these two characters and the lack of current canon moments between them doesn’t really bother me or stall my muse, because I have a hugely active imagination and I’ve got this entire alternate world laid out in my head, which might keep building upon itself and continuously spinning out new ideas and situations and developments until I’m eighty, for all I know. This fandom is also just so gifted, and so you have a ton of manips, videos, fics, etc. to draw from; it doesn’t matter if Klaus and Caroline are currently on separate shows. There is just no end to the inspiration provided by this fandom.
KM: What are your top 5 songs that give you Klaroline feels?
Jennifer: Ok, top 5 Klaroline songs.I have a couple of youtube playlists just full of songs that invoke Klaroline feels, but my first pick would definitely be ‘Clarity’ by Zedd. ‘The Boxer Rebellion by Dream’ is another favorite; ‘Sail’ by Awolnation gives me kind of rough, kinky smut vibes for some reason; ‘Flaws’ by Bastille fits them both individually and as a couple so well; and then we have ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri, which is just gorgeous.
KM: Lastly, if you could pick to have one AU/AH situation be canon for Klaroline, which one would you pick, and why?
Jennifer: For a strictly AU fic, I would have to go with the whole role reversal Original!Caroline, Newborn!Klaus scenario. I would love to see this all-powerful woman who just strides in and takes no prisoners and sets the world on fire, who deep down inside is still this neurotic insecure girl who just wants to be loved. I’d also like to see a Klaus who is much closer to his humanity and yet still so far removed from it, the family dynamics that shaped him into the monster he is, the twisted relationship between him and Mikael, and to explore these two damaged, twisted people finding one another and somehow, despite all their flaws, being better for it.
For AU/AH, I suppose I would probably have to go with a 1920s period fic featuring Klaus as a gun runner/bootlegger, and Caroline in the very atypical role of mafia godmother. 😉 No bit roles for Miss Mystic Falls.
Read Jennifer’s amazing fanfiction here
Interview conducted by Erin. Find her on Tumblr.